Uses any clumping litter
Empty every few weeks
Easy to clean
Not great at neutralizing odors
We purchased the Litter-Robot 3 Connect so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
If you’ve ever done some research on self-cleaning litter boxes, chances are you’ve come across the Litter-Robot 3 Connect, a smart automatic litter box that looks more like a spaceship than a kitty bathroom. If you hate scooping litter, the Litter-Robot might be just the right device for you. The Litter-Robot is anything but cheap, and if you are going to spend hundreds of dollars on a high-end product, it should work well. So we decided to test the Litter-Robot 3 Connect for ourselves to see if it was really as life-changing as it seemed.
Setup: Straightforward and seamless
When the Litter-Robot 3 Connect first arrived, we were shocked at the sheer size of the box. It was a box large enough for a kitchen table. The box is so large because the unit comes pre-assembled. All you have to do is hoist the 24-pound unit out of its shipping container, plug it in, and you’re ready to go.
With the Wi-Fi enabled model, there are also a few steps to get it synced with your phone. We downloaded the Litter-Robot app, and it walked us through the necessary steps. The whole process took about five minutes, and we didn’t run into any issues along the way.
The hardest part of the “setup” process was convincing Nugget to climb inside the globe to do his business. Because the Litter-Robot looks nothing like a standard litter box, we weren’t surprised that he was skeptical of what we were asking him to do. The product comes with a short guide on how to acclimate your cat to its new bathroom, and with the coaxing of a few treats, Nugget used the machine for the first time on the first day we set it up.
Size: Beyond big
An average litter box is fairly compact—personally, our old one was 15 inches by 19 inches with 8-inch walls. The Litter-Robot 3, on the other hand, is absolutely huge. This futuristic-looking gadget is almost 2.5 feet—and it measures just over 2 feet wide and a little over 2 feet deep. Needless to say, if you were hoping to store this litter box in an inconspicuous corner of your home, it would be noticeable.
The unit’s main globe has a 10.25-inch opening for cats to hop in, and they’ll have to climb up to get there, as the globe sits just over 13 inches off the ground. There is a step to help them get in, but our cat never had any issues jumping into the unit.
Design: High-tech and well-built
As we mentioned, the Litter-Robot 3 looks more like a futuristic spaceship than a litter box. The brand says cats need to be over 5 pounds to trigger the sensor, but that’s really the only limitation for use. It can be used in single- or multi-cat households, and there’s no maximum weight limit, so chunky kitties should have no problems using the box.
In terms of construction, the Litter-Robot comprises two main pieces: the rotating inner globe and the base. Both are made of heavy-duty plastic. The globe is lined with rubber, and there are sensors inside for your cat to trigger. Once the sensor is set off, the unit counts down a set amount of time. You can choose 3, 7, or 15 minutes via the app before running the cycle. We chose 7 minutes.
When it’s time to cycle, the globe starts rotating slowly. Clean litter falls through a sieve into a compartment on one side of the globe, leaving any litter clumps and solid waste behind. The globe continues spinning to drop waste into the base of the unit. According to the manufacturer, this system reduces litter usage by up to 50 percent compared to scooping, making each box of litter last longer.
Once the waste is deposited, the globe then rotates back to its original position—we noticed it actually rotates a bit further than necessary to make sure all the clean litter comes out of the sieve compartment, then returns to its starting position. The noise made during rotation is a quiet hum that’s easily drowned out by ambient noise. We stopped hearing it after a week.
The unit's base houses the waste drawer, which you can easily pull out and line with plastic bags. Three Litter-Robot bags are included with the unit. When we ran out, we used large shopping bags or trash bags instead. Sensors in the base sent us a push notification when the drawer was full.
In case of malfunction or if you want to trigger the cycle manually, you can use the Cycle and Reset buttons, or you can trigger a cycle via the app. In our experience, the unit worked as expected the majority of the time. The only issue we experienced was when we overfilled the unit with litter. There’s a max-fill line on the rubber globe; if you put too much litter, it can make the globe too heavy to spin.
Litter Options: Clumping is a must
For the Litter-Robot to work, you have to use clumping litter—otherwise, liquid waste won’t be deposited into the base. We tried out two different litter types with the Litter-Robot: Arm & Hammer Double Duty Clumping Litter and Arm and Hammer Clump & Seal Lightweight.
Both types worked, but the regular weight Arm & Hammer seemed to be a bit more effective. With the lightweight litter, a few clumps stuck to the rubber base that we had to knock off.
Ease of Cleaning: Easy to empty and clean
The Litter-Robot claims to make litter box maintenance a breeze, and we have to agree. When we got a push notification saying the waste drawer was full, all we had to do was pull open the drawer, tie up the bag of waste, and throw it away. From there, we just lined the drawer with a new bag, hit the button to reset the waste gauge level in the app, and that was it. The whole process takes a few minutes, requiring no scooping. The brand says the drawer will need to be emptied around once a week, but we often didn’t get a notification that the drawer was full for 10 days or more.
According to the manufacturer, this system reduces litter usage by up to 50 percent compared to scooping, making each box of litter last longer.
To properly maintain the Litter-Robot, the brand recommends cleaning the inside of the globe every one to three months and giving the unit a deep clean twice a year. Thankfully, the unit breaks down into several easy-to-clean pieces. The “bonnet” is the top piece that holds the globe in place, and it popped off easily when we depressed the two buttons on the side. The globe and waste drawer also come out and can be rinsed with a garden hose or soaked in soapy water.
You shouldn’t get any of the electrical components wet, so keep water away from the base and bonnet and make sure the pieces are dry before reassembling.
Odor Prevention: Stinky after a week
The one area where the Litter-Robot 3 falls a bit flat is odor prevention. There’s a carbon filter on the inside of the waste drawer, but it doesn’t do a great job neutralizing odors. If we let the drawer accumulate waste for more than a week, it begins to smell, which was frustrating as the drawer wasn’t full yet. The brand doesn’t claim that it will eliminate odors. The manufacturer says, “The amount of odor control the Litter-Robot will provide depends on the amount of odor created—by how many cats use it, what type of litter you use, and your cats' diets, among other things.”
As a remedy for the odor, we ended up putting a box of baking soda in the front of the drawer, which helped increase the amount of time we could go between empties. The brand recommends replacing the carbon filter every few months.
Additional Features: Sleep mode, night light, and more
The high-tech Litter-Robot has various additional features, some of which we found useful and others that we could have lived without. For instance, there’s a blue night light inside the globe that you can turn on or off, but since cats have excellent night vision, we really didn’t understand the purpose of it.
One useful feature is the 8-hour sleep mode, which stops the unit from cycling at night. We can see this as helpful if the litter box is in your room, disturbing you as you sleep. However, we opted to leave it off since the Litter-Robot was in the office. You can also lock the buttons on the front of the unit if you have pets or children who like to press them.
The Litter-Robot app tracks the number of times it cycles each day, and it creates graphs of weekly and monthly trends. This can help spot medical issues such as UTIs.
The Litter-Robot 3 Connect costs a whopping $499, which is way above the average for self-cleaning litter boxes. If you don’t care about the Wi-Fi capabilities, you can get a non-connected unit for $449, but that’s still no bargain. Overall, we think this model is definitely overpriced, but the brand can price its products so high because there are no comparable alternatives available today.
Litter-Robot 3 Connect vs. PetSafe ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Another popular self-cleaning litter box is the PetSafe ScoopFree, and this model takes a vastly different approach than the Litter-Robot. The ScoopFree resembles a traditional litter box, but it includes a metal rake that pushes solid waste into its waste trap. While this unit works well and is less expensive than the Litter-Robot, you have to use crystal litter in it, and the cost of its necessary supplies increases the bottom line.
Love the product, hate the price.
Unfortunately, the Litter-Robot 3 Connect is so highly-priced, as it’s an awesome product that would benefit many cat owners. If you can afford this $500 litter box, we think you’ll definitely enjoy its hands-off cleaning and various smart features, and the quality construction will serve you and your cats well for years to come.
- Product Name Litter-Robot 3 Connect
- Product Brand Litter-Robot
- Price $499.00
- Weight 24 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 24.25 x 29.5 x 27 in.
- Color Beige, gray
- Warranty 18 months included; 3 years for $49.99